Create an Effective Home Learning Environment for Your Child 

When arthritis flares or virus outbreaks prevent your child from attending school as usual, these tips can help your child stay on track. 

Sick days, flares and virus outbreaks are just some reasons why children with juvenile arthritis (JA) may need to stay home from school. But just because they’re not at school doesn’t mean they’re off the hook. The following tips can help you create an effective learning environment for your child and help them stay on track with schoolwork.  

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

Children need structure and creating a schedule is an important part of helping your child learn, grow and develop, even when they’re not at school. Plus, sticking to a schedule helps them separate ”school time” from the rest.  

It may be tempting to let your kids sleep in, especially if they feel unwell, but try to get them out of bed around same time every morning. It doesn’t have to be the time they get up for school, but it’s important to start the day around the same time to maintain structure.  

There’s no need to rush them into schoolwork; allow them some time to get ready for the day, just as if it were a normal school day. This includes brushing their teeth, getting dressed and eating breakfast.  

When creating a schedule, don’t forget to include some breaks: an hour or so around noon to eat lunch, as well as some time in the afternoon for physical activity. Having a set time to play outside or go for a walk can release pent-up energy and help them better focus on the rest of their studies. If your child is old enough, feel free to ask for their input in building a schedule that works best for them

Keep Your Child Focused

Go through the provided coursework and delegate specific times for specific subjects. Reduce distractions by designating “no tech” times if possible, i.e., no iPads, computers or phones.  

If your child has to work on the computer to complete their schoolwork, you can use tools like Freedom or Google Chrome extensions like Strict Workflow to keep them focused and off social media. This will drive the message that they need to take their studies as seriously at home as they do at school.   

Arrange a Healthy Workspace

During a normal school day, your child may be used to walking the halls or moving about the classroom for various projects or lesson plans. Regular movement is important for keeping joints limber and managing symptoms. Encourage your child to take frequent, short walk breaks, whether it’s just down the hall to the bathroom, at least every hour or so. 

Set up a designated joint-friendly workspace to prevent any unnecessary strain on your child’s joints or muscles.  You can find tips on creating a joint-friendly workspace here.  

Learning from home is never easy – for you as a parent or for your child. Take it one day at time. In the meantime, rest assured you’re doing your best to help them succeed.  

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